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Say it with heart

Posted Nov 06 2009 12:00am

With the holiday season fast approaching, it's a good idea to have a satchel of tools at your disposal to  diffuse the stress and smooth out the crinkles in relationships.  A top tool in my satchel is what I call the Heartfelt I Statement.  It's elegant in its simplicity, although not always easy to implement without practice.  The basic idea is that we let go of telling others about themselves and stay focused on our own needs, desires, wants and feelings.  We put down the YOU and pick up the I.  Of course, this means a little work on our end.  We have to figure out what we want, what bugs us, how to ask for what we want and then ASK for it.  When the request is heartfelt, it means it comes directly from our hearts.  There is warmth or sincerity, sometimes both, attached to it. Like bread, hot out of the oven, it's hard to resist.  It conveys a desire to have our needs met, while considering the needs of others.  It's a win-win interaction.   When we allow our heart to be open, in a real way, simultaneously for our own needs and the needs of others, we create a flow of energy that holds both the I and YOU in a place of honor.  We transform the use of the word YOU, from that of blame or disappointment, which conveys "You don't measure up," and "You are responsible for my happiness" to a YOU based in respect, regard and reciprocity.  Heartfelt I Statements are truly a gift that keeps on giving.

For example:

I want a more relaxed Thanksgiving day and this is what I am thinking about.  What do you have in mind?

I understand we have always gone to your house for Thanksgiving and I have enjoyed that very much.  This year I want to propose a change.

I am sorry that you find this idea upsetting.  I have always enjoyed our Thanksgivings together and this year I will be out of town.  Let's find another time to have a Thanksgiving meal together, perhaps at a restaurant, where we can relax and spend some quality time together.

See how this is different from:

Why are you upset? We always have to do things your way.  You never think of my feelings. You make me so angry!!

Give it a try. Practice with a trusted person in a role play before you take on a more difficult situation. 

What I want for you is a Saner Holiday Season!

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Heartfelt I Statement©
Graphic:  Chris Wucherer

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